Staal: Wedding and trade made for an emotional day

calexander@newsobserver.comJune 23, 2012 

For Jordan Staal, the date June 22, 2012, was supposed to be memorable for one reason: It was his wedding day.

Staal would be married in Thunder Bay, Ont., and he would have a number of his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates on hand for the grand occasion.

Things soon changed. After the nuptials at 1 o'clock, everyone moved on to the reception, where toasts were to be made. But that's when Staal learned from his agent that his life had changed in another big way -- he had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The news was announced at the NHL Entry Draft -- in Pittsburgh. The Canes, to get Staal, traded Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the eighth overall pick in the draft to the Pens.

"It was unfortunate timing," Staal said today. "It worked out for the best, but it was very emotional. We didn't know when we planned the wedding that it was the day of the draft, and then something like that happens.

"It was a little emotional but still very exciting. Even when you know something might be coming, it's still a shock. It's tough to take it all in."

Staal, who will be an unrestricted free agent after next season, confirmed that he was offered a 10-year contract extension Thursday by the Pens. He said he also realized that if he did agree to the offer, it would end any chance he might have of ever playing with older brother Eric and the Canes.

The two are close and always have been. There's a third NHL-playing brother, defenseman Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, but Jordan and Eric always appeared to have a closer bond. A fourth brother, Jared, is the youngest of the four and is in the Canes' minor-league system.

Jordan said he and Eric had talked of playing together, noting, "It was something we would like to do and doesn't happen often in the NHL."

Jordan noted that he and Eric did compete for Team Canada in the 2007 World Championship in Moscow.

"It was after my first year in the NHL and he was already a wily veteran," Staal said, chuckling. "I played on his line one game. We won the tournament and it was great. It was memorable for us, for our family."

Now, the Staal brothers will try to win for the Canes. Both have won Stanley Cups -- Eric with Carolina in 2006, Jordan with the Pens in 2009. But while Pittsburgh has been to the playoffs each of Jordan's six seasons, the Canes have not made it to the postseason since they lost to the Pens in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals.

Jordan said he did not care if he played the wing on Eric's line or if he continued to play center. After being in the shadow of superstar centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, Jordan -- who scored 25 goals this season -- likes the idea of getting the chance to be a bigger offensive contributor for the Canes.

"It's an opportunity for me to show what I can do offensively," he said. "It's a new challenge for me. I'm excited to get a lot of wins, make the playoffs and see what we can do."

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